These meatballs are braised in the oven, not fried, so they wind up being less greasy than the traditional meatballs.
- 4-5 slices of bread, torn up
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil ( EVOO), plus extra for drizzling, divided
- 2 cans San Marzano plum tomatoes (28 ounces)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1 egg
- 1 pint ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
For the salad:
- 3 hearts of romaine lettuce
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 orange, zested and sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced
Pre-heat the oven to 425ºF.
In a small bowl, place torn up bread and pour milk over it; set aside to soak.
Drizzle a good amount of EVOO into a roasting pan, then pour in the two cans of tomatoes and crush them up with your hands or a potato masher. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside while you prepare the meatballs.
In a large bowl, combine ground sirloin, garlic, parsley, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, allspice, red pepper flakes, pine nuts, currants and the egg and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze out excess milk from the soaking bread (it should be loose and in small pieces), add it to the meat mixture and mix everything with your hands to combine.
Form 12 baseball-size balls, each about 2 1/2 inches in diameter, and place them on top of the mashed tomatoes in the roasting pan. Transfer to the oven and roast until the meatballs are brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking, chop and slice the hearts of romaine, red onion and orange and toss together in a large bowl with lemon juice, orange zest, about a tablespoon of EVOO, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the meatballs from the oven. Serve with some ricotta cheese mixed with lots of black pepper and the torn basil alongside and along with the salad.
This is one of many “Yum-o!” recipes – it’s good and good for you. To find out more about Yum-o!, Rachael’s nonprofit organization, go to www.yum-o.org.